Love expresses itself in giving. Saints have not only given of themselves, but they have given of themselves in the service of God and their brethren. Father Damien is certainly in that category. He lived his life of love and dedication in the most heroic yet unassuming way. He lived for others: those whose needs were the greatest. (Pope Paul VI)
Love is a crucial aspect of our faith. At most weddings we hear the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians on the importance of love: If I speak in human and angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corin. 13:1-3) No matter what we do in this life, if it is not motivated by love, it doesn't mean a thing.
This is true even in the case of the Fr. Damien he accomplished many amazing things while ministering to the lepers and even gave his life, but if he hadn't had the love of God in his heart none of it would have mattered or had lasting value. Happily, Fr. Damien was full of God s love! He was able to create an eternal testament to that love as he bandaged wounds, consoled the dying, built homes and coffins, sang, laughed, wept and preached. Fr. Damien knew that love was the only remedy for the hopelessness he saw when he first set foot upon the shores of Molokai. It was love which motivated him to serve "those whose needs were the greatest."
What motivates us? If we are united to Christ, His love should permeate our hearts and all of our actions. As St. Paul teaches, it is surely the most excellent way .
St. Damien of Molokai, pray for us!Â